Agenda, decisions and minutes

Council - Wednesday, 18th January, 2023 16:00

Venue: Hybrid in the Council Chamber - Civic Offices, Angel Street, Bridgend, CF31 4WB. View directions

Contact: Democratic Services 


No. Item


Declarations of Interest

To receive declarations of personal and prejudicial interest from Members/Officers in accordance with the Members’ Code of Conduct adopted by Council from 1 September 2008. 



The following declarations of interest were made:-



Councillor JP Blundell – Prejudicial interest in Agenda item 7 as a School Governor at Bryntirion Comprehensive school that is mentioned in the report.


Councillor S Bletsoe – Personal interest in Agenda item 8 as a family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.


Councillor F Bletsoe - Personal interest in Agenda item 8 as a family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.


Councillor JC Spanswick – Prejudicial interest in Agenda item 8 as a close family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.


Councillor M Kearn – Prejudicial interest in Agenda item 7 as a member of Pyle Community Council involved in the management of a project referred to in Appendix B (page 36) of the report.


Councillor P Jenkins – Personal interest in Agenda item 9 as a home owner bordering the land in question referred to in the Loan Agreement.


Councillor P Davies – Prejudicial interest in Agenda item 8 as a family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.


Councillor RM James – Prejudicial interest in Agenda item 8 as a family member is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.


Councillor T Wood – Prejudicial interest in Agenda item 8 as he is in receipt of Council Tax Reduction.


Councillor Amanda Williams – Personal interest in Agenda item 7 as Chair of Governors at Coity Primary School


Councillor E Winstanley – Personal interest in Agenda item 7 as her employer is in receipt of the management of monies for Council owned projects.


Councillor R Penhale-Thomas – Personal interest in Agenda item 6 as an employee of an organisation of which V2c is a member.


All those members who declared a prejudicial interest in the above items so referred to, left the meeting whilst these items were being considered.


Approval of Minutes pdf icon PDF 478 KB

To receive for approval the minutes of 14/12/2022




RESOLVED:                               That the Minutes of a meeting of Council dated 13 December 2022, be approved as a true and accurate record.


Presentation to Council by Representatives of Valleys to Coast pdf icon PDF 113 KB


The Chief Executive presented a report that introduced representatives of Valleys to Coast, ie Jo Oak, Chief Executive and Darrin Davies, Corporate Director – Development and Growth, who then gave a presentation upon the latest work of the organisation.


The presentation initially outlined V2C’s agenda, which was


  • Their current position
  • Their immediate priorities
  • Their impact and ambition
  • Clarification around empty homes
  • Opportunities for questions


In terms of the current position, the Officers explained that V2C had received the highest level of compliance for their governance and financial viability following a recent regulatory review.


Rent levels had been set at 6.5% increase on average (in line with other Welsh HAs and on average £20 lower than rent cap), with rent freeze and additional support for most vulnerable.


Continued partnership working was being developed to better support their customers, including the Housing Health and Innovation programme across Cwm Taf Morgannwg region.


Works had also taken place in terms of supporting Bridgend Town Centre by encouraging colleagues back to the office and re-introducing the organisations reception area.


In terms of the organisations more immediate priorities, these were outlined as follows:-


1.    Tackling dampness, condensation and mould - working collectively with other Welsh HAs & LAs and responding to the Housing Minister

2.    Preventing and tackling homelessness - increased support for customers through cost of living crisis; working in partnership with BCBC and others; investing in new homes to meet demand

3.    Addressing under investment in Bridgend through our ‘Missing Piece’ agenda, so we can do more for our customers and communities.


The Chief Executive of V2C advised that with regards to the organisations impacts and ambitions both currently and moving forward, these were to share with members that its Turnaround Programme has had a positive impact across the business, and for customers, with a repairs backlog reducing in number down as well as complaints also reducing and positive resolutions happening quicker for property tenants.


All the above was being driven forward with plans to create a wholly owned subsidiary to further improve and grow their repairs and maintenance service.


V2C had also launched its ambitious Safe and Happy Sustainable Future strategy to work towards carbon neutrality.


Furthermore, £1.2m had been secured to invest in an optimised retro fit programme. This would commence with improved heating systems to around 200 homes; external wall insulation to around 200 homes; and energy efficient lighting to communal areas at its sheltered schemes.


In relation to clarification in respect of Empty Homes, the Officers explained that Valleys to Coast is not the only RSL in Bridgend and that this on occasions led to some misunderstanding locally about the extent of  ownership of some empty homes.


There was also some misconception over the number of homes V2C owned in relation to properties lost through the Right to Buy Scheme.


With regard to void properties, the Officers explained that there were presently 138 empty homes (voids) in the Bridgend area, with 63 currently undergoing construction work to prepare for re-let. In  ...  view the full minutes text for item 79.


To receive announcements from:

(i) Mayor (or person presiding)

(ii) Members of the Cabinet

(iii) Chief Executive





I would like to thank the proprietors of the Bettws Café who went the extra yard on Christmas Eve, delivering free Xmas dinners to homeless charities and people who live alone in the Bettws area.


In the run up to the New Year, the Leader and myself attended/witnessed the marriage of Ian and Alison (now Mr and Mrs Thomas) at the Bridgend Registry Office. Thanks are extended to the newlyweds for allowing us to be there for part of their special day.


Please can I remind members about this year’s Mayor’s Charity, so that they may make a donation to this if they are in a position to.


I will be meeting with Officers this week, to consider the Mayor’s Award nominations.


And finally, for Members information the date of the Budget Cabinet meeting has been changed from 21 February 2023 (2.30pm) to 22 February at the same starting time. 


Deputy Leader


Over the last few weeks, members will have noted the extreme pressures that the health and social care system has been operating under.


Understandably, much of the media focus has been on the very visible, and sometimes harrowing, position that hospitals have found themselves in.


As we have also seen these extreme pressures within the community, I want to acknowledge and pay tribute to our social care workforce as until we resolve this issue of capacity within our communities and value the staff that deliver those community services, we will not resolve the pressures within our hospitals and avoidance of ambulances waiting outside to hand over their patients.


They have been working tirelessly not only to support people who have been discharged from hospital care, but to implement new Welsh Government guidance in a way that maintains social care values and holds at its core the ongoing safety and wellbeing of vulnerable people.


We have worked very closely with Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and remain focussed not only on the immediate response, but also on implementing strategic actions that will enable more people to receive the care and support that they need in an appropriate, timely way.


To provide members with an example of just how we are doing things differently, I would like to briefly highlight our participation with a trial scheme to manage the way in which people take medication, preventing their illnesses from worsening and needing medical interventions, and tackle the £300m cost of wasted medicines across the UK due to the mismanagement of


Traditionally, ensuring that people take their medication regularly has involved a mix of daily home visits from carers, alarm clocks, wall charts, monitored dosage systems, telecare prompts and more.


As the disadvantages of such methods range from potential costs to an inability to confirm that medication has actually been taken as required, the council and Cwm Taf have partnered with Life Sciences Hub Wales to develop a new digital approach.


Called ‘Your Meds’, this uses smart medication management technology in the form of a digital pill box.


Pods  ...  view the full minutes text for item 80.


To receive announcements by the Leader


While the yellow weather warning that is currently in place across much of South Wales resulted in some early morning snow showers and icy conditions across Bridgend County Borough, we have so far managed to escape most of the mass disruption that has been experienced elsewhere.


As you might expect, our teams have been working around the clock once more, and gritters have been making multiple trips to treat the roads network and keep the county borough moving.


The worst of the snow hit our valleys communities and higher-ground areas, and crews have been using our fleet ploughs to help keep them clear.


This includes the Bwlch mountain road, which was temporarily closed for several hours, but which is expected to open again this afternoon.


Thankfully, all recycling and waste collections were unaffected and have continued as normal. Maesteg Community Recycling Centre had to temporarily close its gates before reopening later in the day, but the sites at Tythegston and Brynmenyn remained open as usual.


Unfortunately, the snow did force Caerau Primary, Ysgol Cynwyd Sant, Calon y Cymoedd and Nantyffyllon Primary to all close for the day.


There are many reasons for why this might be necessary during severe weather, and it doesn’t always require heavy snowfall for a closure – for example, a school may not be able to open because of frozen pipes which may have burst, or because of insufficient staff supervision due to some school staff not being able to travel in from other areas where the snow has been heavier.


As such, members may want to remind their constituents that the council website includes a comprehensive section on how the council handles periods of severe weather and includes a dedicated school closures page which head teachers can use to let parents and carers know if a school has had to close unexpectedly.


Schools will also communicate independently with parents and carers using their own systems and are advised to prepare blended learning arrangements as a contingency in order to minimise disruption in the event of a closure. 


National guidance has also been produced for schools and childcare or play settings, and you can find this at the Welsh Government website.


I would urge members to take a closer look at both this and the council’s own web resource, and to make full use of it in the event of any further severe weather.


Members will be aware of our ongoing efforts to tackle homelessness in Bridgend County Borough, and I have some very good news to share on this front.


Minister for Climate Change Julie James has written to confirm that Welsh Government intends to allocate an additional £10m in revenue funding to local councils in 2022-23, so as to support homelessness prevention and the costs of providing temporary accommodation.


This is, of course, on top of £10m that has already been allocated in this financial year for temporary accommodation, and £6m for discretionary homelessness prevention.


Furthermore, the minister has confirmed that she is allocating  ...  view the full minutes text for item 81.


Capital Programme Update - Quarter 3 Report 2022-23 pdf icon PDF 742 KB

Additional documents:


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, which provided Members with an update in relation to to the capital position at the end of Quarter 3 in the current financial year.


She advised, that the Council's Capital Strategy was approved by Council on the 23 February 2022. The approved capital budget approved by Council in February totalled £69.979 million. The programme was last updated and approved by Council in October last year.


Section 4 of the report outlined the current position on the Council’s capital programme in this year. The revised programme for the year totalled £61.7m with £28.2m being funded by BCBC resources and the balance of £33.5m being funded from external sources.  A breakdown of the programme across services was shown in Table 1 in the report, with more detail regarding the funding of the programme being shown in Table 2.


Details regarding individual schemes were shown in Appendix A of the report.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change stated that Members will see that the total requested slippage at Quarter 3 is £28.5m. The reasons for the slippage was detailed at paragraph 4.4 of the report.


As well as adjustments for slippage the report also detailed some new and amended schemes for approval which included Welsh Government funding  received to fund a number of schemes including the:


o          Transforming Towns Placemaking grant to address the decline in     town centres and the reduced demand for High Street retail;

o          Housing with care funding to support the development of the children’s residential hub;

o          ULEV Transformation Fund monies to support the delivery of electric vehicle charging infrastructure within public car parks ; and

o          Access Improvement Fund Grant to support work to improve access to and on the public rights of way network.


In addition to the Welsh Government grants, funding had also been identified to fund other initiatives, to include;


           Additional as S106 contributions to support the provision of affordable housing schemes;

           Additional funding from the Cardiff Capital region local transport fund to support the Porthcawl bus station project;

           Funding to support the Porthcawl Welsh medium seedling school scheme design;

           Funding from Sport Wales to improve external facilities at Ysgol Bryn Castell for use by the schools and the community;

           Public crossing work at Kenfig Hill; and

           Additional funding for ICT equipment purchases for schools


There were also changes to two schemes detailed in the report, with the full revised programme being shown at Appendix B.


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change confirmed that when Council approved the Capital Strategy for this year, it included prudential indicators for 2022-23 to 2024-25. Appendix C to the report, reflected that the Council is operating within the approved local authority limits.


The Cabinet Member – Resources commended the report.


A Member asked for some clarification around the Llynfi Valley Development Loan, in that a loan suggest some monies have to be paid back, which he did not  ...  view the full minutes text for item 82.


Council Tax Reduction Scheme 2023-24 pdf icon PDF 251 KB


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change presented a report, the purpose of which, was to provide Council with information regarding the implementation of the 2023-2024 Council Tax Reduction scheme and to set out the requirement for the Council to adopt a Council Tax Reduction Scheme by the 31st January 2023.


By way of background, she confirmed that Council tax relief provides assistance for those on low incomes who are liable to pay Council Tax.


Welsh government has developed a single nationally defined scheme for the provision of council tax support within which, is the provision for a small number of discretionary elements which individual Councils can choose to adopt. Any additional associated costs must however, be funded locally.


The current scheme adopted by Bridgend County Borough Council will end on the 31 March 2023, explained the Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change.


The Council Tax Reduction Scheme Regulations 2023 have now been laid before the Senedd for approval. The new regulations contain a change to the current scheme to:


           Ensure that applicable Ukrainian nationals will be eligible to be included in a local authority’s council tax relief scheme and will be eligible for a discount if they meet the other requirements of the scheme;

           Provide protection for hosts for the Homes for Ukraine scheme. The regulations make provision so that any Ukrainian national who has been granted leave to enter or remain in the United Kingdom, or who has a right of abode, is to be treated as a dependent on the applicant host for the purpose of calculating entitlement to this discount. In effect this preserves the level of entitlement of the host applicant;

           Remove the exception for European Economic Area citizens who are    now subject to immigration control


The Chief Officer – Finance, Performance and Change added that the new regulations do not contain any other significant changes to the current scheme and the maximum level of support that eligible claimants can receive remained at 100%


Within the prescribed requirements regulations there is limited discretion given to the Council to apply elements that are more generous than the national scheme. These were:


           The ability to increase the standard extended reduction period of four weeks given to persons after they returned to work where they previously received CTR.

           Discretion to increase the amounts of war disablement pensions and war widows pensions which is disregarded when calculating income of the claimant.

           An ability to back date the application for council tax relief with regard to late claims prior to the new standard period of three months before the claim.


The Council was required to adopt a scheme by the 31 January 2023, regardless of whether it chooses to apply any of the discretionary elements. If the Authority failed to agree a scheme, then a default scheme would apply.


She added that proposed discretionary elements for 2023-2024, were outlined in more detail in Table 1 at paragraph 4.23 of the report. The  ...  view the full minutes text for item 83.


Llynfi Development Sites - Former Maesteg Washery Site West pdf icon PDF 298 KB

Additional documents:


The Corporate Director – Communities submitted a report, the purpose of which, was to seek Council approval to enter into a Deed of Variation between Welsh Government and Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) that sets out to vary the existing Llynfi Development Sites, Welsh Government Central Capital Retained Fund Loan Agreement dated 12th February 2015.


She explained that BCBC were now considering the re-development of only the Former Maesteg Washery West Site for housing development and wish to vary the original Agreement to allow the carrying out of the feasibility works.


By way of some background information, in 2013 DTZ Real Estate Investment Management carried out an analysis of all sites in the Llynfi Valley that could potentially be brought forward for development but had issues that needed to be overcome before they could be taken to market.  Three sites were originally identified in the study as Priority 1 Strategic Opportunities for residential-led development (see Appendix A to the report):


           The Former Maesteg Washery Site West

           The Former Maesteg Washery Site East

           The Former Maesteg Lower Comprehensive School Site


An application was made to the Welsh Government’s Central Capital Retained Fund which resulted in Bridgend County Borough Council (BCBC) Regeneration securing a £2.5 million loan with no match funding being required from BCBC. 


The Loan Agreement (see Appendix B) was signed in February 2015 between Welsh Government and BCBC to enable the Council to deal with physical constraints on the sites, in order to bring them forward for residential development integrated with amenity open space.


Following the carrying out of a Feasibility Study, the Council were advised not to pursue the re-development of the Former Maesteg Washery East Site, with the Former Maesteg Lower Comprehensive School Site being deemed as having the potential to be developed by other means, Extra Care Housing (ECH).


It was therefore agreed by the BCBC Llynfi Development Sites Project Board that the Council would progress with the Former Maesteg Washery Site West only.


In June 2022, the confirmed consultancy fees and site works costings for Tranche 1 (Feasibility) were sent to Welsh Government by BCBC and an application made that Tranche 1 be increased to £322,589 to reflect the significant increase. This application also proposed that Tranche 1 become a grant as opposed to a loan and entering into a Deed of Variation (DoV) to the original Loan Agreement will reflect this. Welsh Government grants panel approval and subsequent ministerial approval to vary the original Agreement to this effect via a DoV was obtained in July 2022.


In September 2022 a draft DoV was issued by Welsh Government for BCBC comment. Following input from BCBC Legal and Finance Departments, the wording has now been agreed and the final version appended to this report awaits Council approval and acceptance (see Appendix C to the report).


Paragraph 4.6 of the report, included details on how site works were progressing and the Corporate Director – Communities gave a quick resume of this for the benefit  ...  view the full minutes text for item 84.


Information Report for Noting pdf icon PDF 264 KB

Additional documents:


The Chief Officer Legal and Regulatory Services, HR and Corporate Policy, reported on the Information Report which had been published since the last meeting of Council.


The Chief Executive reminded Members that there was presently two Public Service Boards in the locality that would merge to become one to serve the Cwm Taf Bro Morgannwg area. Identified in the draft Wellbeing Plan at Appendix 1 to the report, were two main objectives which were Healthy Local Neighbourhoods and Sustainable and Resilient Local Neighbourhoods, so focussing on engagement to hear the citizens voice and getting community involvement in order to achieve the right priorities, was paramount he felt. To this end, the Chief Executive asked Members to encourage their constituents to engage in the consultation on this which ends next month.


The Chairperson of the CO&SC encouraged Members to attend the Member Development session on this topic dated 30 January 2023, in order to further promote and develop the scrutiny process both within the Authority and with any partners.


RESOLVED:                                   That Council acknowledged the  publication of the document listed in the report.


To receive the following Question from:



Councillor Tim Thomas to the Cabinet Member – Future Generations


Will the Cabinet Member make a statement on whether they are satisfied that socially rented homes in the County Borough are, as far as possible, safe, and free from detriments that can cause negative health outcomes?




Councillor Tim Thomas to the Cabinet Member – Wellbeing and Future Generations:


Will the Cabinet Member make a statement on whether they are satisfied that socially rented homes in the County Borough are, as far as possible, safe, and free from detriments that can cause negative health outcomes?




The Minister for Climate Change wrote to all social landlords on 15th December 2022 following the tragic death of two-year-old Awaab Ishak, who died from a respiratory condition caused by exposure to mould. This letter outlined the action required of social landlords in Wales to ensure that measures are in place to specifically identify and address reported issues with damp and mould. This includes reference to investigations and inspections, dealing with condensation and its causes, rectifying any defects as promptly as possible and supporting tenants with help and advice.  Welsh Government has requested information and assurances that landlords are responding to these issues be provided to them by the 20th January.


As Cabinet Member for Wellbeing and Future Generations I am fully supportive of the steps being taken by Welsh Government in re-enforcing to social landlords their responsibilities. I too have recently sought reassurances from local Registered Social Landlord’s (RSL’s) that they are taking steps to ensure that their accommodation is safe. I will continue to seek reassurances that this is the case from our RSL partners in Bridgend, and that any necessary actions highlighted through the review are followed through.


There is a framework of policies, processes and law that sets out the standards expected from homes, not only within the social rented sector, but also in relation to private rented sector in general.


The Renting Homes (Wales) Act 2016 took effect on the 1st December 2022. This changes the way that landlords rent their properties and applies to landlords and letting/managing agents.  The Act brings increased rights for tenants and a key element of this legislation is that all properties must be safe. This Act introduced a requirement to ensure that homes are Fit for Human Habitation (FFHH).  This includes a requirement for electrical safety testing and ensuring that smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors are fitted in properties.


In addition, Rent Smart Wales, a licensing and registration system supports those who let or manage properties and provides advice on the requirements and obligations to ensure that landlords comply with health and safety requirement for the private sector. 


The Welsh Quality Housing Standards (WQHS)  is in place for all new social housing developments and ensures that properties are in a good state of repair, safe and secure, and adequately heated.  The WQHS 2023 is currently being updated to drive up standards on decarbonisation ambitions and include energy saving elements for tenants. Developments funded through the Social Housing Grant (SHG) – a WG grant - must comply with these standards.   This grant supports the planned development programme to increase the supply of accommodation by Registered Social Landlords (RSL’s).   The housing service works closely with Welsh Government and local RSL’s to  ...  view the full minutes text for item 86.


Urgent Items

To consider any item(s) of business in respect of which notice has been given in accordance with Part 4 (paragraph 4) of the Council Procedure Rules and which the person presiding at the meeting is of the opinion should by reason of special circumstances be transacted at the meeting as a matter of urgency.